Hundreds of commuters lost their lives and just as many were injured in traffic accidents during Vietnam’s biggest annual holiday, according to the National Traffic Safety Committee.
A traditional holiday celebrating the coming of the new lunar year, Tet is a much anticipated occasion for the Vietnamese to get together with their family and relatives after a year of study and hard work away from home.
This year, the nation enjoyed a 9-day holiday, from February 6 (which falls on the twenty-eighth day of the last lunar month of the Year of the Goat) to February 14 (the seventh day of the first lunar month of the Year of the Monkey).
But some have not survived to see another Tet, as the committee said that as many as 408 traffic accidents were recorded over the course of the holiday, taking the lives of 300 people and injuring 380 more.
Frightful as they sound, these figures reportedly represent a noticeable decrease compared to last year, with 128 (23.8 percent) less cases, 17 (5.4 percent) less fatalities, and 129 (25.3 percent) less injuries occurring on Vietnamese roads.
Road accidents accounted for most of this year’s casualties, with 297 travelers killed and 376 injured in 403 cases, while five reported railway accidents resulted in the deaths of three people and left four more wounded.
These accidents, most of which involved motorbikes and occurred on national or provincial highways and in rural areas, are largely the result of careless driving and the violation of traffic safety rules such as speeding, driving under the influence, and overloading.
Tet was also a chance, the National Traffic Safety Committee said, for transport companies to charge their passengers over the ceiling price, with a 50-80 percent increase on the usual fee, alongside frequent overloading of passengers on some routes.
The influx of traffic to and from major cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City also caused severe congestion at the gateways to the cities, contributing to the number of accidents, according to the committee.